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between 12:00 Friday 15th December and 12:00 Monday 18th December


Balthayock Castle

Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Balthayock Castle

Classification Tower House (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Tower Of Balthayock

Canmore ID 28229

Site Number NO12SE 4

NGR NO 17411 22957

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2023.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Perth And Kinross
  • Parish Kinnoull
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Perth And Kinross
  • Former County Perthshire

Archaeology Notes

NO12SE 4 17411 22957

(NO 1741 2295) Balthayock Castle (NR)

OS 6" map, (1969)

For successor country house of Balthayock, policies and dependent buildings, see NO12SE 71.00.

Balthayock Castle is a massive, simple keep of 14th century date. It measures 52 by 37ft and has very thick walls. It is still of considerable height, but has lost its battlements, and has a modern roof.

D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887-92.

This massive rectangular keep occupies a strong position above a steep ravine. It appears to date from an early period, possibly 15th century or before. The walls are at least 10ft thick and are of whin rubble with sandstone dressings. The building was ruinous prior to 1870 when James Maclaren built the present battlements, caphouse, external forestair to the entrance at first floor level and altered the interior. The date '1370' is modern though possibly correct - no documentary evidence has been found (SDD 1966) Though unoccupied, Balthayock Castle is in moderately good preservation.

SDD 1966; N Tranter 1962-70.

Photographed by the RCAHM in 1980.

RCAHMS 1980.


Field Visit (9 June 1964)

A large rectangular keep as described above. It has been altered by the addition of modern windows and roof. It is now uninhabited and in a dilapidated but far from ruinous condition. On the side of the stone stair on the E side of the castle is an armorial panel with the date 1370 and over an archway at the SE corner of the castle is another, dated 1578.

Visited by OS (W D J) 9 June 1964.

Field Visit (June 1989)

Balthayock Castle, a late 14th- or early 15th-century tower, occupies a commanding position overlooking a deep ravine to the NE of Kinfauns. It is rectangular on plan, measuring 15.9m from WSW to ENE by 11.7m transversely over walls up to 3.6m thick at ground-floor level, and consists of three principal storeys. The entrance was at first-floor level; both the ground and first floors are vaulted, and circulation is achieved by a straight-flight mural stair, and a connecting turnpike, which gives access to the floors above. Tusking at the E angle would indicate the presence of a barmkin. There are two armorial panels, one bearing the date 1578 and the initials AB (Blair) GM, the other 1370 (modern). The tower was remodelled about 1870 with the addition of a crenallated parapet, cap-house and forestair.

A drawing of 1850 shows the tower prior to restoration, with continuous corbelling for a parapet at the height of the main wall-head and, on the ENE, an ancillary L-plan range, probably of 17th-century date, while on the NNW there is a single-storeyed outbuilding with half-hipped roof. The range comprises a main block of three storeys, and a wing of two storeys and an attic; the first floor of the wing seems to have been divided into a hall and chamber. An engraving of about the same date confirms the disposition of the building and depicts a single-storey dwelling with outshot to the W of the tower. These buildings (still roofed in 1866) seem to have been demolished about 1870 with completion of the new house (NO12SE 71.00) and the layout of its policies.

The family of Blair are said to have been in possession of Balthayock since the reign of William I (1165-1214).

Visited by RCAHMS (PC/IMS), June 1989.

OSA 1791-9; NSA 1845; D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887-92.

Measured Survey (5 September 1989)

RCAHMS surveyed Balthayock Castle (NO12SE 4) on 5 September 1989 with plane-table and alidade at a scale of 1:100. The resultant plan was redrawn in ink and published at a scale of 1:250 (RCAHMS 1994b, 139(B)).


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